Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Even those worshippers taking seriously the biblical instruction to worship God with a new song have an ever increasing sense of disquiet about today's modern worship scene. For one thing, too much of it is recorded using a stylistic template of Brit pop/stadium rock that today is every bit as stylized and lacking in creative invention as the congregation-and-organ sounds of yesteryear. Another drawback is that the dominance of a handful of mega churches and Bible weeks in disseminating new songs has meant that relatively few new young songwriters will ever have their songs exposed to a national let alone an international cross section of the Church. In view of all this, the rise and rise of Co Down's the Rend Collective Experiment is to be hugely welcomed by all who care deeply about the music we use to draw us close to God. As most Cross Rhythms readers will probably already know, 'Campfire: Worship & Community Reimagined' was recorded live on Ballyholme Beach and comes with an enticing suggestion for fellowships and youth groups to organise similar campfire worship events in their neck of the woods. With acoustic folk instrumentation and some stirling percussion the sound is fresh and vibrant with critics, keen to put Rend into a stylistic slot, suggesting everyone from Mumford & Songs to Sufjan Stevens. Such exercises are pretty futile and all I'll suggest is that Irish folk style rhythms, driven by some particularly tasty banjo playing and occasional bursts of dance-worthy percussion make for an exhilarating musical cocktail. The songs, ranging from the foot-stomping "Build Your Kingdom", a wistful rendition of Redman's "10,000 Reasons" and "You Bled" which sounds even better than the Collective's studio version, all hit home. One can even forgive their tongue-in-cheek opener, a brief snatch of "Kumbaya" (the corny folk refrain once omnipresent in every youth group meeting of the '60s). This is a delightful, spirit-lifting exercise in thinking, and worshipping, outside the box.
The opinions expressed in this article are
not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed
views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may
not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a
Interested in reviewing music? Find out
|Irish indie folk, praise & worship outfit Rend Collective's third album, the appropriately titled Campfire, was recorded live around a campfire on an Irish beach with an enthusiastic congregation.|
Comprised primarily of material from the group's two studio albums, 2010's Organic Family Hymnal and 2012's Homemade Worship By Handmade People, standouts like the stirring 10,000 Reasons, Come On My Soul and You Bled are rousing, redemptive and inclusive, skilfully infusing contemporary Christian music with the boot-stomping retro-folk of bands like Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers.